As the many metres of altitude the day before were not without strain and I had not yet seen the monastery, I thought a restful day was a good idea. Manang was only about 3 km away and a bit higher. So after breakfast I went to the monastery. It is about 600 years old, big, spectacularly built between rocks – and still waiting for the monks who were in Kathmandu for teachings. But a caretaker had keys and showed me the main room. In principle, I have already seen dozens of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and I always like to go in because of the familiar atmosphere, but there is not so much for me to marvel at. Here, however, I found some statues and masks quite remarkable, namely these:
Then I climbed over, through and past more locked buildings and took more pictures.
The one locked door had impressive wrathful deities and murals in front of it:
Then I walked to Manang
Manang is a larger village at the end of the road track. There are a few bakeries in the lower part of the village with the accommodation and an upper part where the locals live. It is a good place to walk around and look at the old stone walls.
People are doing cattle and field farming and some soldiers were just out on exercise or patrol or something. A wind started whistling and it clouded over, but I still climbed a hill with a view of the monastery. There are several monasteries to see here, but I had already seen one today.
I had a nice room with a bigger windowsill inside where I sat, read and looked out (and hence the blogpost music title from “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding – just the line without sea-association):
And I thought about what to do next. There were the following possibilities:
Thorung la is 5,416 m high and afterwards you have to descend almost 2,000 metres. But then you would come out on the other side and have done a loop. Manageable in 3 days with sleeping altitudes at 4,200 and 4,900 m. I’d had a little loose motion since Kathmandu, though still felt quite fit. But I did have some respect for it.
And I was travelling alone, which also seemed tricky. I was slow and imagined that I would be the last to cross the pass, that I would hurt myself afterwards and that no one would come to help and that I would sit and cry. Not a good idea. So a guide or porter or porter guide. But that costs money too.
Tilicho Lake is one of the highest mountain lakes at 4,949 metres. It looks amazing in pictures – but like Ice Lake, it would probably be mostly covered in snow.
I like to think of myself as a mountain goat jumping around. But the reality is that I’m slow, age is starting to gnaw (as far as I could see, I was the oldest woman travelling alone), altitudes over 5,000 m give me trouble, at least in the long run, and my last 5,000plus pass was 6 years ago. On the other hand, I had always managed everything with perseverance. And I could turn around at any time – even if I wasn’t really comfortable with that option. My mind was whirring back and forth.
What would I have decided????